28 February 2015

Mostly Azores gulls,... mostly

Flight to Lisbon, night in a decent hotel, flight to Terceira, abortive landing attempt at a fog-bound Lajes, flight back to Lisbon, night in Lisbon's answer to the Hotel Earle, another flight to Terceira,...

And so began my latest trip to the Azores.  However, once the stop-starty start had been overcome it was a high-octane, fun-filled, knockabout adventure amidst the beautiful landscapes of Terceira and São Miguel.

High-octane gulling, I assume he was gulling as he was tazzing around within metres of the pontoons in Ponta Delgada harbour.  He probably got some cracking views of Glaucous and Ring-billed Gull.  

The port at Praia da Vitória,... in the dark; moments earlier two Bonaparte's Gull, two Mediterranean Gull and 15 Ring-billed Gull had tucked their bills under their wings and settled down to sleep for the night.

On Terceira, days were largely spent touring such fragrant delights as the tip, the fishing port and the oil refinery quarry in search of a mythical hyphenated larid (think Glaucous-winged, Slaty-backed, Black-tailed,...).  In between times we took time to stare in wonder and awe at 'Azores Gull' (for which read, 'obtain yet more photos and some very poor sound recordings'). 

Gull.  Tip.  Gull tip tip: speak to the manager of the tip and gain a VIP pass and a front row seat at the tipping face,... get in! 

Second-winter 'Azores Gull' on a bollard.  [Dear reader, as per any reference to large white-headed gulls, please remember to add the suffix '-type' in your head after the assumed age class as, a. I can't be bothered to type it every five seconds, and b. neither you, me or anyone else can be 100% sure of this little bleeder's age.  Some of them do weird shit and we shouldn't let them get away with it.]
First-winter 'Azores Gull', this one looks a bit fluffy because it is preening in readiness for going out on the town, they don't all look this fluffy.

First-winter 'Azores Gull', the main confusion species here is Laughing Gull, just because a gull is laughing does not mean it's a Laughing Gull.  This one is actually laughing because it had seen a hilarious discussion about a stringy 'Azores Gull' on Facebook.

Second-winter 'Azores Gull'.  There is always a modicum of head-scratching when gull watching, this one is pondering the much overlooked conundrums that Lesser Black-backed Gull can cause. 

An, as yet unidentified, small, presumably first-winter, gull.

Variously aged 'Azores Gulls' all nicely lined up on the quayside.  On this evidence it appears first-winters and adults can appear very fuzzy, an anti-predator strategy p'raps?

Probably an advanced second-winter,... or retarded third-winter,... or downright educationally subnormal fourth-winter,...

A poorly looking fish.  Luckily this Great Black-backed Gull was on hand to attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation,... did not go quite as it should.  I should probably have intervened when the gull started by pulling the patient's guts out through his bunghole,... I knew that wasn't what you're supposed to do.  
Sub-adult (third/fourth-winter) 'Azores Gull' with young 'uns looking on. 

The gull roost in the port at Praia da Vitória. 

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